Tag Archives: Festival of the Little Hills

Festival Of The Many Roys

Last year Sister2 and Sister-In-Law convinced their spouses to come to St. Charles for the Fete des Petites Cotes. Apparently they had so much fun, or the allure of Kettle Korn was so overwhelming, that they decided to come back and convinced Sister1 and her spouse to join them.

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If you’ve done the math, that’s 6 visitors in a house with 3 bedrooms, two of which are spoken for. We decided to let Randy & Brenda have one room, Mark & Teresa the other, with Cindy & Chuck on an air mattress in the basement. Lar and I would sleep on air mattresses in Andrew’s room. He wouldn’t mind the company. I’m not a fan of air mattresses but we got rid of the beds that fold back into couches because they became unfashionable, I guess. Of course, we used to have a water bed and then it became unfashionable. I just want something soft to sleep on.

Figuring out sleeping arrangements was the easy part. Now comes the cleaning. It’s bad enough living with an obsessive-compulsive clean freak under normal circumstances — having company just cranks all the OCD up to 11. “This house is filthy! Your family are going to be disgusted!” Do you know how hard it is to relax on the couch with a Coke, a bag of chips, and the Kindle Fire while watching TV with that going on? “Why are you eating on the couch! What are you, an animal?!”

The family pulled up in a rented 6-passenger van late Friday afternoon. I put on the Olympics hoping that will entertain them, and in short order I fire up the grill. We have the food ready by the time Lar gets home. The Stupid St. Louis Weathermen say there’s an 80 percent chance for rain tomorrow, so we decide to go down to the fest after supper just to be safe.

Naturally, everyone in St. Louis had the same idea. The RRoy St. Louis Freebie Festival Imperative was in full effect (Question 24 in the FAQ).Lar wanted to park in the city garage, which I was sure would be full at 7 p.m., but no one listens to me, and since you can’t fit 9 people in a 6 passenger van, we had to take 2 cars, which meant the odds of finding not 1 but 2 parking spaces in the city garage at 7 p.m. on opening night of the Little Hills Festival was… well, no one listens to me…

Chuck manages to find a spot for the van, I am not so lucky. I kick the passsengers out of my car and tear out of the city garage. I head over to the Foundry Art Centre where I see a couple and a baby carriage heading to their car. I pull up behind them. “No hurry. I am in no rush to catch up to my family.”

I eventually find them on Riverside Drive. It turns out the event organizers, after listening to the Stupid St. Louis Weathermen, decided not to set up tents in the park since all that rain that was coming in would turn the event into a wet, muddy mess — like last year.

Did I mention that every idiot in St. Louis had converged on the festival? I had never seen it so crowded on a Friday night. We walked until it was too dark to see, then kept walking. Eventually we went home and I had a nice, refreshing sleep on an air mattress.

The next day everyone was up and ready to go by 9:30 a.m. so off we went. Much better parking situation at 9:30 a.m. Saturday. The forecast by the Stupid St. Louis Weathermen had miraculously changed from 80 percent chance of rain to 10 percent. Oh, Stupid St. Louis Weathermen — don’t ever change.

IMG_2446 (1)So now begins the long, long, slow, slow, stop-and-go trek that is the Festival of the Little Hills. One of our first stops is one of my favorites — Frozen Wine Slushies. There are 3 reasons to go to the FLH: Kettle Korn, The Wisconsin Sausage and Cheese booth, and Frozen Wine Slushies. In fact, I’m enjoying a Frozen Wine Slushy as I write this. Pardon the misspellings and bad grammaer.

Navigating an event like this with 9 people is quite the challenge. Never is everyone on the same page. Some people get ahead, some lag behind, some like to look at stuff, some want to keep moving, some want to go into the shops, I just want to sit down. The merchandise is pretty much the same as every year. Brenda decided Randy could make most of the stuff himself so she just took pictures of stuff for later reference. Cindy got a bunch of Christmas ornaments and junk. Mark had some Gatorade. We got Kettle Korn, Sausages and Cheese, and Wine Slushy Mix.

Two hours later we had reached the end of the street. It was lunch time so we crossed the street to the Magpie Cafe. Had three delicious glasses of Coke (free refills!) and a tasty turkey sandwich with gouda cheese and apples. It was good to sit.


After lunch we headed back up another street full of vendors. Chuck, Andrew and I made a break for it. Stopped at Doozles for an Ice Cream Cake (it was Cindy’s birthday) and then home. The others rejoined us after an hour or so. I figured they would stay later but I guess there’s a limit to even how long Laurie, Brenda and Cindy can shop.

Watched “Batman v Superman” (Randy foolishly thought Superman would beat Batman), then had supper. After that we made our way to New Town for a free concert by Trixie Delight. It was a challenging fitting 9 lawn chairs in the trunk — not to mention finding 9 chairs suitable for lawn sitting. The band was good but most of the gang seemed more interested in walking around New Town. I thought we’d done enough walking for the day so Randy, the boy and I stayed put.

Got home around 10 p.m. and ate half the ice cream cake. Then off for another restful evening on the air mattress. It’s not the getting in that’s the problem, it’s the getting out.

Sunday morning L gets up early to get donuts. They had no donut holes. What kinda bakery doesn’t have donut holes? Stupid formerly IGA grocery store.

We watch “CBS Sunday Morning” and then “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” By that time it’s dinner time so everyone fills up on lasagna and salad and then they finish off the cake. After dinner our guests pack up and pile into the van and off they go. “I’ve got to go clean the house!” she says as the van clears the street.

I go in and take a nap.

In my bed.

Not made of air.


The 30 Most Entertaining Things Of 2015

…in semi-chronological order

american_sniper_ver2_xlg1. American Sniper

MDQ Year 4 Photo 12. The Million Dollar Quartet

DFEIRd2EL2Gfn4QgBrxoxp9xnaDf19XZxlB7ftdX_xg,XQCCKvBd34nm4F54rNoXQdr0CD8d977V6Ikyr5dbrCo,SyqHv5-T306fPJW6NuU--ZeIdKWUoj58xO9ntfAwCjw,jg-e6hLU7oImp8Nzxd6wCH-qO5xYfQeYneslUfTjFx03. Kinky Boots

0054. Trivia Night 2015

unnamed5. The New Basement Tapes

avengers-age-of-ultron-alternate6. Avengers: Age of Ultron

ls_topten_200906167. Late Night with David Letterman

barber-main-image-325px8. The Barber of Seville

richardmain-image9. Richard the Lionheart

TOAD10. Toad the Wet Sprocket/4th of July

BF_Payoff_1-Sht_v8_Lg-1309x194011. Ant-Man
20150716_214308112. Hawkeye

steelydan_0_142416523613. Steely Dan/Elvis Costello

relay114. Walking for Causes

the-daily-show-with-jon-stewart15. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

07616. LawyerCon: Snowbird, Utah

00317. Festival of the Little Hills

Daredevil18. Daredevil

14919. The EC Summer Whoop-de-do

11393239_10204413656169007_541491465855502009_n20. Cracks in the Cobblestone029 - Copy21. Wedding Weekend in Kentucky

late-show-with-colbert-1000x60022. The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

12115603_1075387272473477_5225033021861492715_n23. Laurie’s Winery Spectacular


24. The World Series

4_Snow25. Irving Berlin’s White Christmas

2B89064B00000578-0-image-a-25_144011547175026. Spotlight

Ornaments%20on%20Tree27. Cirque Dreams Holidaze

Star_Wars_Episode_VII_The_Force_Awakens28. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

FullSizeRender (1)29. The Roy Family Kansas City Christmas Spectacular

100_270730. The Executive Committee Holiday Dinner

A Wet, Wild Weekend With The Roys

My family doesn’t visit a lot. It’s a long drive. They’re older than me, even.

Cindy and Chuck would usually come up once a year. Once Pa got sick that ended. Now that Pa’s gone Cindy gets out more, and that combined with the fact that Brenda had never been to the Festival of the Little Hills, combined with the fact that I had some inheritance coming due, and lo and behold, two siblings and two siblings-in-law converged on my house over the weekend.

Laurie was practically giddy. Who knew she loved having company so much? Now we only have one guest room so having four guests is an issue. Especially since we long ago did away with our couches that turn into beds. Apparently that’s not stylish anymore. If it ever was.

“Cindy and Chuck can have the guest room and Randy and Brenda can have our room and we’ll sleep on the air mattress.”

“What? Why do we get the air mattress?”

“Because we’re the hosts.”

“Right. We’re the hosts. As in that’s my bedroom. I don’t recall Randy ever giving up his bedroom for us.”

“They have two guest rooms.”

“I’m pretty sure Randy wouldn’t give up his bed regardless.”

“You’re sleeping on the floor and you’ll like it.”

R&B had business in Kansas City on Friday morning so they didn’t hook up with C&C until 8:30 p.m. in Springfield which meant they didn’t get to St. Charles until after midnight. After some obligatory chit-chat everyone was ready for bed. Laurie pulls the unopened air mattress out of the box.

“I’m not blowing that up.”

“You don’t have to, it has its own pump.”

I locate the mattress’ internal pump: Requires 4 D batteries.

“Do we have any D batteries?”

“Of course not. Who uses D batteries anymore?”

That night I slept on a sheet on top of my Spider-Man blanket on the basement floor. Or rather, I tried to sleep. At some point I ended up on the upstairs couch and Laurie ended up on the basement couch.

After the long day and late night I wasn’t expecting anyone to be up early, but you know country folk. R&B were the first up. Laurie made coffee while I made a donut run. The festival begins at 9:30 a.m. and it’s important you get there early to get a parking space. Otherwise you’re stuck dealing with shuttle buses.

Looks like rain. Funny. I don’t remember rain being in the forecast. As we step into the cars it begins to rain. You know how with some rains it will come down hard for a few minutes and then clear up? That was not this kind of rain.

This was a soaking rain. Cold and wet and constant. Light to hard to harder. Occasionally it would lighten up, but that was just a tease to get you out of the stores and back on the street, at which point the rain would start up again.

For the festival-impaired, the Festival of the Little Hills is a giant craft fair. It runs the length of Main Street and then spills into the park on the riverfront. 300 vendors or so I’m told. It’s the kind of thing where after an hour you stop in the middle of the street, throw up your arms and yell, “Who would buy all this crap?”

IMG_7661Now you would think the rain would’ve deterred people from coming downtown but no. There were still plenty of people, and now all of them were toting umbrellas and poking you with them. It was a soggy morning and after 90 minutes we had pretty much had enough. We decided to have lunch and maybe the skies would clear while we were eating. Too many people had the same idea as we headed towards Lewis & Clarks, so we wound up at Undertow. They had a limited festival menu but they had burgers and chicken strips and wraps and what more do you need?

Sure enough, by the time we finished eating the sun was peaking through the clouds. So off we went, as if the entire morning had never happened. The street was still quite damp, and deep water in spots, but we made it from one end to the other, then down to the park. The wet, muddy, muddy park. Oh, and since it wasn’t raining any more — all the idiots showed up. Thank you, idiots. Thank you for showing up in force. I was afraid I might have some breathing room as I walked from craft tent to craft tent. I was afraid I wouldn’t be forced to stop in a puddle of water and stand still because no one is moving.

We eventually wound our way to the main stage which meant we’d seen it all. I was more than ready to go home.

“We need to make another loop around the park,” Cindy says. “I was only looking at the booths on the right. Now I need to look at the ones on the left.”

“You have got to be joking.”

“I’m not tired. I could go another round.”

“I’m never too tired for shopping.”

And so it was that Andrew, Chuck and myself made our way back to the house while Laurie, Brenda, Randy and Cindy continued to enjoy the festival.

An hour or so later the phone wakes me up.

“Put the pulled pork in the oven. We’ll be home later”

“You’re still shopping? What more was there to see?”

“There’s always more to see.”

They finally got back around 6 p.m. Insane.

After dinner we filled up the Mizzou cooler on wheels and headed to New Town for a free concert starring popular local rockers Trixie Delight. They rocked pretty well and it was a good evening.

The next morning Randy was getting antsy so it was time to pull out my list of chores. Randy is quite the handyman, you see, while I am whatever the opposite of a handyman would be. handlessman? incompetent boob? either works.

First order of business was a cabinet under the wet bar that Laurie and I have not been able to get open. Something had got stuck in the drawer making opening it impossible. And trust me, I had tried everything.

Randy pulls on it. No go. then he pulls out the drawer next to it, reaches in from the side and moves the offending item. Door opens.

Why didn’t I think of that? I have two college degrees. Randy has a high school diploma. And yet he’s 100,000 times smarter than me. It’s not fair.

But then, the person with the Juris Doctor didn’t think of it either.

IMG_7672So then I went down to the basement and pulled out the metal horse-head hat rack that Laurie bought in Kentucky 20-or-so years ago and has been sitting in the basement because I didn’t know what to do with it or how to hang it without it looking lopsided.

We take it out to the garage and Randy starts knocking on the wall looking for something called a “stud.” Four nails later and success. My caps finally have a home.

I’ve only got one more chance to make my brother look like a stooge, but it’s my secret weapon.

“Here. Open this jar of salsa.”

Several months ago my wife picked up a jar of Over the Border brand (or South of the Border?) salsa. She could not open the jar. I could not open the jar. We tried hot water. We tried the gripper things. I turned and stressed and strained and almost gave myself a hernia. That lid absolutely would not budge.

Randy gives it a twist. No go. He tries harder. Nothing. Pretty soon the peanut gallery is getting into the act.

“Pour hot water on it.”

“Use the gripper thing.”

I sat there smugly as Randy stressed and strained and tried to no avail to open that jar of salsa. Finally — something he can’t do.

“Where’d that hammer go?”

He starts tapping around the lid until POP! the damn thing opens.

Sigh. Using a hammer on it. Why didn’t I think of that?

By now it’s lunch time. We were going to grill but as soon as someone mentioned grilling it started to rain. So we had lasagna.

After lunch it was time to make the long drive home. There was talk about making the festival an annual trip. Fine with me.

But Randy’s not getting my bed next year.